Pentecost 2002

Fierce Love




A Christian Community

In the Tradition of the Church of the Saviour

Pentecost 2002


Fierce Love


We often talk as if
the conversation made sense
and life had a benign order in it.
After September 11th, who could believe that?
Was it a kind of Pentecost?
Where all we could hear was
the common language of the stunned heart?
the heart murmuring in fire?
Thousands dead,
muttering and mourning moving across our land.
Is this the way the path opens,
illusion stripped and
the raw muscle of life laid bare before us?

Some say the goal is to live
with godlike composure
on the full rush of energy
like Dionysius riding the leopard
without being torn to pieces.

I say: do not shout jubilees to me
when even one of my children is dying.
Get out the fury of love
and the keys to the kingdom
in your kitchen drawer,
the ones that live with all the stuff
of everyday life.
Take notice of the frail body you inhabit
and the short life
and be about loving
with a fierceness
you have never managed before.


Elisabeth Dearborn


We are the vessels of God's voice, her words

blowing through us, bidding us to tell the tales

that only we can speak.

Jan L. Richardson, In Wisdom’s Path  







Leader: We come as fragile, earthen vessels.


Voice 1:      A rush of wind, a touch of flame —

this way the path opens —

the love of God embracing the world.             


Voice 2:      A rush of wind, a touch of flame —

this way the path opens —

the voice of God blowing through us,

among us,

around us.            


All:              We come as fragile, earthen vessels.

We become Spirit-filled Body of Christ.











Leader:      Marked by grief and loss,

we have known the pain of tragedy

we never thought possible.


Voice 1:     Then the news, “He is risen!”

We have put our hands into his side and learned

that death cannot overcome life.


Voice 2:      Now these mysterious tongues of fire —

yet we carry the scars of wounds

Jesus healed long ago.


Leader:      There comes a time when we must choose

whether to remain weeping at the tomb

or to let go and tell what has happened.  


All:              The road beyond Emmaus is calling.

It is time to go out and proclaim what we have seen.






Leader:      How long, O Lord, will you hide your face from us?

How long must we bear pain in our souls

and sorrow in our hearts all day long?


People:      You call us to gentle living,

to cradle each moment like Mary cradling the Child, but we are neglectful

and do not know the face of God.


Leader:      You call us to steadfast witnessing,

to gaze into the brightness and darkness of our hearts like the Magi gazing at the night sky,

but we turn away

and do not know the face of God.


People:      You call us to bitter grief,

to let our tears rain in the desert

like Mary, and find life at the tomb,

but we are indifferent

and do not know the face of God.


Leader:      You call us to fierce loving,

to kindle the hope that can ignite the world

like Peter at the feast of Pentecost,

but we are timid

and do not know the face of God.


All:              How long, O Lord, will you hide your face from us?





Leader:      We trust in your steadfast love

and our hearts rejoice in your salvation. 

We sing to the Lord

because the Lord deals bountifully with us.


All:              Amen.













The first Sunday of each month we switch to a Communion Liturgy here.









Leader:      Go out to claim your place

in this painful, complicated world.

Take with you full measure of the love of Christ

and share that love with all your might. 

And may the power of the Holy Spirit keep you going

even when it seems

that there is precious little reason for hope.


People: Amen.



Worship Resources

Confession and Assurance: Based on Psalm 13.


[Seekers] [Write us] [Seekers Liturgies] [Fair Use]

Additional Prayers during Pentecost

May 19, 2002 (Pentecost Sunday)

Prayers by: Peter Bankson, Liturgist

Lessons:        Acts 2:1‑21

     Numbers 11:24‑30

Psalm 104:24‑34, 35b

1 Corinthians 12:3b‑13

     Acts 2:1‑21

John 7:37‑39

     John 20:19‑23



O God, how great is the variety of your creation

the cardinal and the credit card,

the rhododendron and the roadside restaurant,

the polliwog and the professor

in wisdom you have made them all.


The earth is full of your creatures,

and the earth itself is your loving creation.


Holy maker of this wonder-full universe,

You have called us here to be your body,

consciously alive and loving in this time and place.


Come, let us sing to God.

Let us praise our God,

who has created this body we call church,

and gathered us together in the name of Jesus,

who is our hope and our salvation.  Amen.


Continuing prayers

O holy cleansing wind

that blows the storms about like dandelion fluff,

teach us to love your holy wind of heaven.


Mover of the green tops of the trees

and freshly minted grasses,

open us to your mysterious breath,

the holy source beyond all understanding.


How wonderful is the spirit of growth and change,

the holy spirit that will not let go of life.


We rejoice in the gifts you give so carefully to every creature,

the strengths and vulnerabilities

that give such rich variety of shapes and energies

to our environment and our community of relationships.


Call forth our thanks for births and graduations,

for ears that hear you call in fresh, new ways.


Lift us up above our selfish interests,

spread our concerns as far as our awareness and beyond,

to new understanding of what it means

to be your loving, co-creating people.


Hear now, o holy wind of creation,

our prayers of praise and thanks —



Holy maker of community,

God of life and love,

we carry in us cares for those we know and love,

for those who face an unknown future

and need to learn to live each day as gift from you.


So many of us carry deep within

some new life that struggles to be born,

some sense of call to love and serve this rich reality

in ways that we have never imagined.


We pray for those who face some painful new reality

that they had not expected …

and those whose opportunities

are so much bigger than the courage they have known before.


Today, O holy maker of community,

we carry cares too heavy for us to bear alone.


We pray to know your presence in these needs,

to feel your holy, healing touch,

to know that we are not alone in caring for the needs of others.


Holy maker of new life,

giver of unexpected energy for action,

we bring to you the cares that burden us,

our loving hopes for those in need,

and for ourselves, for we would be your servant people.


Hear now, O God of all reality,

our prayers for those in pain and need …

and for ourselves, for we are hungry for your healing deep within.



Wind of inspiration, creative spirit of God,

teach us not to forget

that you always come as gift.


Remind us always to be ready to receive, and love,

and dance with joy each time your presence is revealed,

or risk the possibility that you will love,

and dance with joy without us.


O gentle breeze of hope,

we raise our prayers,

believing that you are here among, within us,

calling us to be your people,

the people of the risen Christ.  Amen.



May 26, 2002  (Trinity Sunday)

Prayers by: Peter Bankson, Liturgist

Lessons:        Genesis 1:1‑2:4a

Psalm 8

2 Corinthians 13:11‑13

Matthew 28:16‑20



O Holy mystery,

the names we choose to try to show your majesty

fall short of saying who you are:

Lover, Redeemer, Inspirer

Creator, Christ and Spirit

Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Your greatness stands beyond the best descriptions we can offer,

and yet your love pours forth in streams of living water.


O God beyond all names,

the earth is filled to overflowing with your steadfast love.


Our lives are held so tightly in your loving embrace

that every thought and thing we think we have belongs to you.


We gather here to celebrate the joy of being in your presence,

for we gather in the name of your true child, Jesus

who is the Christ Messiah  

the one who’s come to reach through the isolation of our sin

to bring us into community.  Amen.



O God of unfathomable complexity,

we raise our prayers to you today

knowing there is more to your creation

than we will ever understand. 


We come to know you in so many different ways  

as parent, perfect mother and father nurturing and teaching;

as friend, a comforting companion in the face of joy and sorrow;

as inspiration, filling us with vision

and the courage to claim the gifts you give so freely.


We know you too as mystery beyond all words

like wisdom in the wind

a wonder-full recognition in the eye of that young blue jay

looking in the window as I write,

a refined truth smoldering brightly in the ashes of defeat,

a strange and calming reassurance in the face of screaming doubt.


O holy mystery,

hear now our prayers of praise and thanks

for all of your complexity,

and for the way you call us here to be together as your body.



O God, we know we know you know us, but we do not understand.


We worship in your presence,

and celebrate both what we know and what we must accept in faith.


We stare into the world around us  

watching as agreement comes to put aside our missiles

even while others make their missiles ready to destroy.


We watch the stumbling between hope and fear,

and wonder if we’ve seen your face in all that tension and confusion.


You speak to us of love and change;

you show us pain and possibility;

you lead us through green pastures to places where the water is no longer still,

and there you call us to offer our selves in celebration and service.


The more we realize that everything is you,

the more we are surprised by grace.


O God, we hear you calling from the pain and suffering,

the fire of a culture that is killing itself.

We hear you calling us to stand out from the crowd.

We hear you calling us to our uniqueness,

to count on being different.

We hear you calling us to be your people,

your hands and feet, your eyes and ears, your heart.


Hear now our prayers for those in need,

and for ourselves, for strength to be your body in this time and place.



O God of fiery mystery,

we give you thanks for calling us to be your people,

and for coming among us as a savior,

and for filling us with the power of your spirit. 

Help us not forget that we really are your people.  Amen.



June 2, 2002 

Prayers by: Peter Bankson, Liturgist

Lessons:        Genesis 6:9‑22; 7:24; 8:14‑19

Psalm 46

     Deuteronomy 11:18‑28

     Psalm 31:1‑5, 19‑24

Romans 1:16‑17; 3:22b‑31

Matthew 7:21‑29



O God of all creation, here we are.


We’ve come because you’ve called us to receive your love  

and pass it on to those around us,

even to the ones we do not know by name.


Fill us with that love,

now, as we gather here, around this table of rejoicing,

for we gather in the name of Jesus, who is the Christ.  Amen.



O mystery of life, holy idea before all else,

maker of the lightning bug who greeted me at dusk last night,

we marvel at the rich variety of life

that leaps forth from the earth on every side.


We think of Noah, watching in amazement

as two of every living thing gathered at his gangplank, hungry to be saved.

I walked around the garden yesterday,

offering a little water to the ferns and dogwoods,

seeing just how fast the bleeding heart

has claimed that little patch of sunlight in the afternoon,

hungry for the light.


And here, we watch each other as we grow

into the opportunities before us

hungry for your call. 


O holy maker of this place we call our home,

we bring our prayers of praise and thanks,

for all the rich variety of life, and love, and hope

that flows from you.



O mystery of life,

holy lover of the universe,

we’ve come here hot and tired,

worn with worries for so many things.


We watch the violence, in Israel and Afghanistan,

and feel so helpless here in this protected place. 

How can we help?


We hear of those who can’t make sense of their lives,

who lose the vision,

who settle for the advertised solution “as seen on TV.”

and know that at some level they are us.


We hunger for the bread of your salvation,

to feed our empty souls and share with those we serve.


We thirst for grace,

and turn to you with throats burned dry and souls that cry …

and souls that cry for justice, peace and Sabbath.


Holy God of Sabbath rest and healing,

hear now our prayers for those who hunger and thirst,

and hear the rattle of our own parched throats

as we raise our prayers to you.



Liberator of those bound by chains of fear,

you are our refuge and our strength,

a very present help in trouble.


Fill us with your love, we pray,

as we gather here around this table of rejoicing,

for we gather in the name of Jesus,

who is the Christ.  Amen.



June 9, 2002 

Prayers by: Deborah Sokolove, Liturgist

Lessons:        Genesis 12:1‑9

Psalm 33:1‑12

     Hosea 5:15‑6:6

     Psalm 50:7‑15

Romans 4:13‑25

Matthew 9:9‑26



Holy maker of all that is, we stand in awe and wonder 

at the power of your fierce love,

at your eternal promise to bless those who follow your ways.


You speak to us in violent winds, in sheets of rain, in searing heat,

sending us in search of shelter from the overwhelming power of your breath.


You speak to us on gentle mornings,

calling us from sleep, calling us to lives of love and service.


You speak to us in the voice of all your creation,

inviting us to join the song, to praise and bless the work of your hands.


As we gather, now, in the name of your holy child,

help us to know that you are always with us,

holding us in the gentle embrace of your fiercely loving heart.  Amen.



Astonishing giver of more than we can ever ask or desire,

we trust in your steadfast love, and our hearts rejoice in all that you have given us.


We give thanks for this day of rejoicing,

for second chances,

for love that knows no bounds.


We give thanks for ceiling fans and air conditioners,

for computers that work,

and days on which we don’t have to use them.


We give thanks for the abundance that fills our days,

for friends and for family,

for new births and for long lives,

and for all the unexpected gifts that come from your fiercely loving heart.


Hear, now, our prayers of praise and thanks, aloud or in silence.

Holy keeper of the promise,  for all these things, we praise and thank you.



We know that you are with us, too, when our hearts are heavy,

and our minds begin to fill with fear and pain.

You know our needs even before we speak them,

yet somehow telling you seems to help.


We read the headlines: war and famine and death.

So many have too little,

so many are sick and without hope,

so many cannot even pray for themselves.


And so we bring these cares and worries to you, holy lover,

trusting that you will hear our prayers of petition and intercession,

spoken aloud or in the silence of our hearts.



We trust in your steadfast love and our hearts rejoice in your salvation.

We trust in your promise,

and ask all these things in the name of Jesus, who is the Christ.  Amen.



June 16, 2002

Prayers by: Peter Bankson, Liturgist

Lessons:        Genesis 18:1‑15, (21:1‑7)

Psalm 116:1‑2, 12‑19

     Exodus 19:2‑8a

     Psalm 100

Romans 5:1‑8

Matthew 9:35‑10:8‑23




Holy God of joy and hope

we come today to be together as your body;

we come today because you call us to be your people;

we come today to celebrate your presence in this time,

your energizing call,

the promise of a future filled with life and love.


O Holy One, we gather in the name of Jesus,

who is the Christ.  Amen. 



Fiery, laughing fountain of the cosmos,

we bow ourselves in awe before your unimaginable creativity.


We felt a kind of respite s the rains came softly,

slow enough this time to settle in the earth and nourish all of life.


At night, we hear that tiny, hungry humming in the dark

that tells us the mosquitoes are returning,

faithful in their quest to guarantee a future for their kind.


Today we think of father Abraham

who greeted strangers at his door when he was still a stranger in the land,

who offered them the hospitality of his hearth,

who killed the fatted calf for them,

then listened as they told him news too good for his old ears:

He and Sarah would be parents yet!


We think of Abraham,

and all those others who have carried dreams for years

before they find the way before them open and the spirit ripe within.


Holy, budding cultivator of the future,

we celebrate the richness of your being

and offer out our prayers of praise and thanks

for your commitment, and your creativity.



Gentle, loving heart of the future,

we watch the flame you set before us,

calling us to a life of loving and doing your will,

and know that there is pain and need

so far beyond the little we can overcome.


We hear the stories from Afghanistan,

from Israel and Palestine,

from India, Kashmiri and Pakistan,

and know that there are millions more we have not heard about

and can offer little help.


And, quietly, each one of us is bearing some pain   

some ache of joint, or heart, or soul

some suffering that others may not see.


Wise, laughing healer of creation

we bring to you the pain we carry,

the uncertainty that churns within us,

and claim the promise that you gave to Abraham,

that faithful service will reveal

an opportunity to make a difference for generations to come,

no matter what.


Hear now, O God of all creation,

our prayers for those in pain and need, and for ourselves.


O quiet, laughing lover of creation,

we sing and pray and celebrate,

that you have welcomed us within the body of the risen Christ,

in whose name we join ourselves for good.  Amen. 



June 23, 2002

Prayers by: Peter Bankson, Liturgist

Lessons:        Genesis 21:8‑21

Psalm 86:1‑10, 16‑17

     Jeremiah 20:7‑13

     Psalm 69:7‑18

Romans 6:1b‑11

Matthew 10:24‑39




O holy God of all creation,

this summer morning,

full of the promise of your presence,

beckons us into Sabbath.


We stop,

and turn aside from all the toil and tribulation of these turgid times,

and bring our selves to you —

our hearts and minds,

our souls and spirits,

our bodies and our hopes for what will be.


Gather us together now,

into one small part of the body of the risen Christ,

in whose name we’ve come together

to offer you our praise and thanks.  Amen.



Wonder-full God of summer rest and growth,

we watch with joy while long-awaited rain

springs forth as leaf and blossom.

We hear the song of cardinal and mockingbird

celebrating the life and bounty of these warm days.


At night the gentle flashing of a tribe of fireflies

reminds us that all your creatures hunger for companionship.


Beside the stones worn round

by eons of gentle massage in Four Mile Run

I see that life is flourishing  

the minnows seeking shelter in a cooling ripple,

algae streaming in the gentle flow,

and children shouting with delight

while parents watch nearby in quiet joy.


There in the shaded forest

there is time for gentle celebration,

a Sabbath even in the midst of great uncertainty.


There is none like you among the gods,

O Lord, nor are there any works like yours. 


All the nations you have made

shall come and bow down before you,

and shall glorify your name.  


Today we watch as summer stretches out before us,

and pause to bring our prayers of praise and thanks to you.


Hear now the joyful shouts that rise up from our hearts

as we remember all the wonders you have made.



Gracious, celebrating harbinger of growth,

we watch with aching hearts as war and violence

grow like summer weeds.


Self-destructive violence In Itamar, Jenin and Jerusalem and Netzarim;

angry bands of terrorists hiding in the jungles of the Phillippines;

pervasive ethnic hatred lingering in Kosovo.

We watch, and pray, and ponder what else we can do.


Close at hand, so close that we are twisted deep within,

the fearful ache of illness and depression stalk the shadows of our days. 

We watch, and pray, and look for other ways to help.


And deep inside the fear and anger rises up like something indigestible,

and nights of rest are turned to nights of fear and dread.


Give ear, O Lord, to our prayers;

listen to our cries of supplication. 

in this day of trouble we call on you, for you will answer us.


O holy maker of the hope that overcomes our tribulation,

hear now the prayers we raise for those we love,

and for ourselves.



There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,

nor are there works like yours.


O wondrous God, we claim the promise of your love,

and wait with eager hearts to hear your call,

Your call to love and serve as stewards in this world you are creating.

We bring our selves to you –

our hearts and minds,

our souls and spirits,

our bodies and our hopes for what will be –

all bound together in the name of Christ.  Amen.



June 30, 2002

Prayers by: Peter Bankson, Liturgist

Lessons:        Genesis 22:1‑14

Psalm 13 

     Jeremiah 28:5‑9

     Psalm 89:1‑4, 15‑18

Romans 6:12‑23

Matthew 10:40‑42



Holy God of all creation,

we come today to be together in this place,

to share the love you shower on us like that storm on Friday afternoon,

to join our hearts in songs of praise,

to raise our prayers and share our joy and pain.


We pray that we might know your presence flowing through us,

for we have come to claim the power and presence

of the one who really knew just what it means to let your spirit take control,

our Savior who is Jesus, the Messiah.  Amen.



Holy maker of this rich world full of wonder,

this is the season of blooming celebration,

and I am overwhelmed

by all the different ways you’ve figured out to make a blossom …

the bright Impatiens sparkling in the setting sun,

the primrose shuddering awake for just one night,

the dandelions everywhere…

and just what are those wonderful bursts of pink with golden centers,

the ones that fill the trees along the trail? 

I think they were the inspiration for a fireworks spectacular! 


Such rich variety you make,

such testimony to the goodness of diversity,

such constant opportunity for unexpected grace.

God of growing fields and resting teachers,

of newborn babies and resting elders,

of different schedules and old familiar menus,

God of traditions tugging hard at growing understandings,

we bring our sense of gratitude to you.


We thank you for the places where we know

tat we can look for love,

and for those terrifying new places where you find us

even when we’re trying to hide. 


Hear now our prayers of praise and thanks,

the blossoms we have picked to bring along this morning

to this time of thankful celebration.



God of mystery beyond our comprehension,

we watch as storm clouds gather at the edge of sight,

and don’t know whether to be pleased or frightened …

Hoping for the cool relief of rain,

or hiding from the flash of lightning striking close at hand.  


We feel that tension between hope and fear,

that sense that something wonderful is being born right before our eyes

is matched by wide-eyed wonder at what strange thing we’re being asked to do.


Like Abraham, we often feel the dread of being sent up to make an offering

when all we have to give is life itself. 


And there are those whose pain and need

calls forth that sacrificial care from each of us.


O holy maker of more blossoms than anyone can count,

God of the ram hidden in the bush waiting for our full commitment,

Holy maker of this complicated life,

we bring our prayers to you.



Holy fountain of fierce loving,

we trust your steadfast love,

and sing our prayers, rejoicing in the salvation you offer each of us.


For we are here to claim the power and presence

of the one who really knew just what it means to let your spirit take control,

our Savior who is Jesus, the Messiah.  Amen.



July 7, 2002

Prayers by: Peter Bankson, Liturgist

Lessons:        Genesis 24:34‑49, 58‑67

Psalm 45:10‑17

Psalm 72

     Song of Solomon 2:8‑13

     Zechariah 9:9‑12

     Psalm 145:8‑14

Romans 7:15‑25a

Matthew 11:16‑19, 25‑30



O holy, loving creator of the universe,

we come together in the presence of your holy mystery;

we come, drawn by the promise of your healing presence;

we come, knowing that your gifts are given in community.


Fill us with the deep assurance that we are your people,

part of your body,

called to witness to the mystery of your presence in this time,

for we gather in the name of our savior, who is Jesus, the Christ.  Amen



O guide and ruler of all creation,

we marvel at the fullness of life:

the way our gardens grow,

so rich with life that we must search to find the harvest hiding in the weeds.


We marvel at the rich complexity of life:

the dusty silk road trails that linked so many different peoples

across the deserts of Asia

and the life that flowed from hand to heart to head to hand.


We marvel at the gift of life itself:

the forest of relationships,

with soaring ecstasies and tangled feelings binding us together.


We come to praise and thank you for the rich feast of your gifts,

for children’s play and patriots’ dreams,

for celebrations filed with energy

and quiet evenings stroked by gentle breezes,

for time to stop and rest and realize that all we know is part of you. 


Hear now our prayers of praise and thanks for being in your world.



O God who cares for every bit of this creation,

we know of many places where your presence is so hard to see.


We hunger for the assurance

that your justice and your righteousness will triumph.


We long to see the poor defended,

the needy delivered from their want,

and those who would oppress others stayed from evil

and brought, themselves, to justice. 


O God, you came among us as Jesus of Nazareth,

the redeemer of creation,

to show us just how love can heal,

even when it does not own the power to overthrow. 


Fill us with that love, we pray,

for we would be your healing people.


Hear now, o God of love,

our prayers for the oppressed,

for those in need, and for the poor.



O God who cares for every bit of this creation,

God of bright sun and brighter hope,

we sing our prayers to you in the name of Jesus,

who is the mirror of your presence in the world.  Amen. 

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